medical website

Building a medical website? What to look for when choosing a digital agency?

Your practice has been around forever but you need more patients. You have just started out as a VMO and want to grow. Or you have realised that your 2009 website is slowly falling to pieces and is due for a replacement. This checklist will help you look at examples, agency work and portfolios with a critical eye so you avoid wasting your marketing budget.
medical website

Building a medical website? What to look for when choosing a digital agency?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

October 6, 2021

First impression counts as a doctor!

Finding a medical website specialist

Would you do a clinic with a stained shirt? Probably not. Just like you wouldn’t leave empty coffee cups on chairs in your waiting room, right? Your first impression as a leading specialist doctor matters. When I am training VMOs and private practice managers in the area of business development, I am often surprised by what I’d like to call a lack of digital hygiene.

When you look at renewing your website and as you look at examples, presented to you by an agency or as you explore the web, check that first impression. Is the website clearly about a medical specialty? Or could it be a template that represents an insurance company or an airline? The first 7 seconds are crucial, to hook the visitor (in this case, the prospective patient) or to lose them.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve, CEO Digital Practice

"When looking at someone’s medical website portfolio, look at the way this website provides a first impression to patients. Does the website look professional and does it convey the personality of the practice?"

What do you do to optimise your digital first impression? The first step is to become aware of what is happening. When someone proposes to build your new website, look at their recent work in a portfolio that has live examples, not just templates. Look at how much attention to detail went into really representing that unique medical practice. If you were a patient, would you trust and like this profile enough to take the next step and book a consultation? Excellent examples of an effective first impression for a specialist doctor would be Dr Jeremy Rawlins and Dr Weranja Ranasinghe.

How do patients find you?

patients finding your medical website

What is the point of entry to your online presence? Do you expect patients to type (I made that up, please don’t try and find Dr John) or do you expect patients to find you when they need a urologist in Melbourne?

Here’s the good news: Data is available to tailor every paragraph and every page on your website to the specific Google searches of your ideal, current and future patients. In other words, it is now possible to build exactly the right content on your medical website, so you create ongoing growth and develop your private practice in a predictable and future-proof way.

Here’s the less-than-ideal news: It’s not a quick fix. Numerous doctors have described to me how they told the IT guys to do some SEO (search engine optimization), include it on their next bill, and how they then sat back and relaxed, hoping for more bums on seats, practice growth and a shift in their patient numbers. The fact that they described it to me after having lost thousands of dollars on scattered tactics, underlines the bottom line: that is not how it works.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve, CEO Digital Practice

"When checking medical websites, find out if they pop up for Google searches around a specific topic in a geographic area. A website works for you if it brings traffic in for a variety of keywords used in Google search."

You could say that the entire Google universe is built around Artificial Intelligence. And it is getting smarter by the second. How is that of interest to you, running an orthopaedic, gynaecology, ophthalmology or obesity surgery practice? Well, Google shows patients quality content as often as possible, when they do a search for a condition, a treatment or a specialist in their local area. So patients will find you more often when you put in place good and fully optimised content. Google your name and see what comes up, what patients find. Google your number one treatment or surgery + the location (eg endometriosis Perth) and check out where you are and what patients see. Spoiler alert: the trick is to have really good individual Content Pages in place, such as this page on… endometriosis treatment in Perth. If the portfolio work you look at does not have a clear content strategy behind every website, chances are that you are only buying design, not a business strategy.
Medical website - Digital Practice

The art of making medical websites convert

how does my medical website convert

My team and I often discuss this for hours when we take on a new customer: What is the story? What makes this practice unique? Why would patients choose this specialist over a competitor? Finding that angle, that spark and the uniqueness is an exciting journey. Digital Practice customers who went on the journey with us will happily confirm that.

It’s exciting because it is a journey of self-discovery. Who do we choose to be in the patient’s mind and perception, as they are looking for a specialist doctor? And where do we see our practice in 2 and 5 years’ time?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve, CEO Digital Practice

"Truly converting web traffic is not a technical thing. It’s the human conversation that requires a mature, in-depth story about who you are as a doctor. Capturing that, and then visualising it with graphics, images and characters is a mix of skills, experience, art and talent. And we love it."

Conversion is not just a fancy word. When you look at medical website examples, ask about proven conversion rates, clicks per topic, Google visibility per treatment avenue and the way this content is optimised to keep ranking well in organic search. Look beyond the shapes, fonts, images and price tags and ask your future business development agency (I like to call us that rather than a web agency) how they will help you build the private practice that you want.

A holistic combination of data and communication skills

medical website experts

When you are preparing to build a new private practice website, look for that integration of skill sets:

  • Patient Search Behaviour data underpin every strategy that we create. Mapping the exact searches that patients around Australia are doing on Google is an extensive and delicate operation. As a result, we keep building our experience and analysing what patients in various specialties search for. As soon as you realise that the old cliche ‘Content is King’ still applies, you will realise that building content based on data is not a bad idea.

  • Storytelling is the art of listening to your story, asking the right questions and packaging that information in a format that is ready to work for you, online and in the daily routine of your private practice. The story of your commitment, your why, your qualifications and your particular interests, always with a clear focus on the difference it makes for me as your patient.

When you look at portfolios and choose your next web and business development partner, look at the expertise of the people you will be working with. Growing a business is a long-term journey, unlike buying a new fridge or movie tickets.

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